Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Week 21: Coconut Curry Soup

The Recipe
(Serves 2)
~100g precooked protein - I used chicken, but the original recipe called for shrimp
1 carrot (not too big. I used half of a large one)
1/2 bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
~100g rice vermicelli (very thin noodles)
1tsp ginger
2 tbsp red curry paste
1l chicken broth
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
salt, pepper
Juice from 1 lime

Julienne carrot and bell pepper. Put aside.

Mince garlic and julienne onion.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until slightly soft. Add garlic, ginger and red curry paste and cook for about a minute until fragrant. Add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste (add slightly more salt as you would otherwise - the noodles will absorb some of it).

Add noodles and boil for 2 minutes. Add the carrot and bell pepper and boil for another 2.

Split the precooked meat into two bowls and pour the boiling soup over. Squeeze some lime juice over. Serve immediately.

The Verdict
Two tablespoons of curry paste is a LOT, so this is a soup with more than just a bite. I loved it, but beware if you're making this for people who'd prefer less heat - I think it'd be far too much for my DH.

But apart from that I REALLY liked it! I didn't boil the noodles for quite long enough, so they still had a bit of bite, but not enough to detract. Really tasty and extremely easy to make.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Week 20: Mexican Pork Chops

The Recipe
4 pork chops
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili
1 tsp cumin
Juice from 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp salsa

Mix together salt, cayenne pepper, chili and cumin in a bowl and lime juice, chopped garlic, honey and salsa in either a large bowl or a freezer bag. Sprinkle the pork chops with the spice-mix and place them in the box/bag with the salsa-mix, making sure to coat all sides. Let it marinade for at least 1 hour.

Heat oil on a pan and cook the chops until done.

Serve with rice and vegetables.

The Verdict
It was just borderline too spicy for DH, but I loved it. The salsa-honey mix worked really well. Perhaps I'll try just the marinade without the spices another time, to see if that works better.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Week 16: Lemon-Honey Chicken

The Recipe
(Serves 1)
A pinch of salt
A dash of pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp thyme
2 heaped tbsp honey
1 tbsp cornstarch
1dl water
4 chicken drumsticks or 2 chicken thighs (dark meat)
~1/2 small squash/zucchini, sliced

Place first 8 ingredients (salt through water) in a crockpot. Whisk sauce together. Add chicken and turn it over a few times to make sure it is thoroughly coated. Add squash slices on top.

Cook on LOW for ~8hours.

Serve with baked potatoes.

The Verdict
REALLY good! The sauce was a lot thinner than I had expected, despite the cornstarch, but it tasted great, and (probably thanks to the lemon) had penetrated through the chicken skin nicely. I also liked the taste it gave the squash. Definitely something I'll make again.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Week 14: Lasagna with Rocket Salad, Ham and Mushrooms

The Recipe
~25g rocket salad
200g ricotta or cottage cheese
1.75dl shredded cheddar
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
200g thinly sliced ham
300g finely chopped mushrooms
1 (425g) can tomatoes
1 (140g) can tomato paste
1dl freshly chopped basil
shredded parmesan
lasagna pasta

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Chop up the rocket salad and mix it with the ricotta cheese and cheddar. Put aside.

In a large pot, add oil and cook onion and garlic until fragrant and slightly soft. Add ham and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes before adding the canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat and leave it to simmer for 5 minutes until it's thickened a bit. Add basil.

In an oven-proof dish layer pasta, cheese mixture, pasta, meat sauce, pasta etc. End with pasta and parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes

The Verdict
Tasted good but strangely bland. It was definitely in need of something - although I'm not quite sure what that something should be. I liked the idea of an alternative filling for a lasagna though, so might play around with that a bit more... but doubt I'll make this specific recipe again.

Week 13: Marinated Bell Pepper

The Recipe
4 bell peppers
1.25dl olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp freshly chopped basil
2 tbsp freshly chopped oregano

I had neither fresh basil nor fresh oregano, so used about 1tsp of each dried.

Cut the bell peppers into quarters, removing stem and seeds. Put on a baking sheet and grill until the skin bubbles up and starts to go black. Take them out of the oven and leave to rest under a moist towel for 5-10 minutes or until they're cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin (don't obsess with this - just get as much off as you can). Cut into thin stripes.

Mix together olive oil, lemon juice basil and oregano. Add the bell pepper and make sure it all gets coated in the marinade. Leave for at LEAST 2 hours - preferably overnight.

Serve as a side by itself or use in wraps or on sandwiches.

The Verdict
This is SO good! I didn't grill the bell peppers for long enough, so only got about half the skin off, but that didn't matter much - the marinade still penetrated nicely. I misread the recipe so I only had time to marinade it for about 1 hour before dinner. The leftovers I refrigerated and saved for sandwiches the next day - it definitely improved after such a long time marinading. It was good the first evening too, but especially the slices where I hadn't gotten all the skin off had gotten much softer the second day.

It's a lot of work for every day meals, but tastes really good, so worth while to do once in a blue moon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Week 8: Apple-celery stuffed pork chops

The Recipe
(Serves 2 who aren't too hungry)
1 thick pork chop, bone-in (the one we got was about 1lb including bone)
1 small, crisp apple, deseeded and chopped finely
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 celery stalk, chopped finely
30g bread crumbs
2tbsp chicken stock (or just plain water if it's too much hassle making up that little stock!)
rosemary, salt and pepper
butter and oil for cooking
1tsp maple syrup
1tsp mustard
A pinch each of salt, pepper and rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Warm oil and butter (about 1tsp of each) in a pan. Add apple, onion, garlic, celery, breadcrumbs, chicken stock, rosemary salt and pepper and cook until the onion's soft and the bread crumbs are slightly brown. Put aside and leave to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, cut a deep "pocket" in the pork chop and stuff as much of the filling into it as you can get. Discard the rest (or serve it on the side - whichever).

Mix together maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper and rosemary. Rub each side of the pork chop with the marinade. Heat a bit more oil in the pan, reduce to medium heat and cook the pork chop for 4-5 minutes on each side to get a nice, crisp coat. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes depending on thickness of pork chop.

Cut in half, tossing a coin (or playing rock, scissor, paper, lizard, spock!) to see who gets the bone.

Serve with potato fries and some greens.

The Verdict
Really, really good! Definitely something I could see myself making again, as the meat was nice and moist, the flavours worked really well together, and it wasn't even that complicated to make! I've adapted the measurements somewhat, as the first try had waaaay too high a ratio of bread crumbs. I think this works better. You could even leave out the stuffing completely, and just use the marinade for ordinary "thin" pork chops. It's a nice variation to the usual honey-mustard marinade.

Week 7: Sweet Potato Fries

The Recipe
~500g sweet potatos
50g corn starch
3/4dl COLD water
~1/2 l oil for frying
Salt, pepper and spices (e.g. paprica, chili, cayenne pepper, cumin etc.) to taste.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin fries. Mix the corn starch and water in a bowl and whisk until the corn starch has completely dissolved. Dump the fries in a few at a time and put them on a rack to drip.

Meanwhile heat the oil over high heat in a thick-bottomed pot. You want it REALLY hot or the fries will boil rather than fry. Once it's hot enough, put in a handful or so of fries - you don't want to overcrowd them. I found I could do about 15 at a time. Don't be tempted to turn down the heat - I did, and it meant an entire batch was boiled rather than fried. Still tasty, but not really what I wanted.

Cook each batch of fries for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Move to paper towels to let excess oil drain. Move to a plate and season with salt, pepper and whatever spices you fancy.

You could put them in the oven at low heat (about 100C) to keep warm while you cook the rest, or just do what we did, and eat them while you cook the next batch!

The Verdict
A LOT of work, but so, so good!!! Don't know when or if I'll ever make this again, but it was good!!! YUM!

Oh, as for boiling some? In the photo below you can clearly see the difference between those that were boiled (top) and the ones that were properly fried (bottom).